Fall/winter migration is here—wildlife/vehicle collisions higher this time of year Collisions statewide up 15 percent over last year

November 24, 2015 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Wildlife on the Move!

STATEWIDE – Each fall, data show an increase in wildlife-vehicle collisions on Colorado highways. With the first few storms of the season, wildlife have moved down from the high country as they do each year—and they continue to move to food and water sources, crossing highways along their routes. A majority of the collisions occur during dark hours, from dusk to dawn, when wildlife are more active and they are also more difficult to see.

In Colorado there were 3,960 wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC) reported to law enforcement in 2014 (the most recent data), up from 3,437 in 2013 and above the 10-year average of 3,590 (the highest amount of hits reported in one year was 4,013 in 2012). Of the 3,960 WVCs in 2014, 3,667 involved vehicle damage, 287 involved injuries and 6 involved human fatalities (source:  CDOT Traffic & Safety Division).

Again, La Plata County tops the list for highest WVCs in the state at 306 in 2014; Jefferson County, 265; Douglas County, 248; El Paso County, 209 and Montezuma County, 169; (please see more county- and statewide data, here: http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/environmental/wildlife/wildlifeonthemove/data-and-charts. (Numbers detailed in the above paragraph came from the chart entitled “Reported Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions by Type and County.”)

“While CDOT constructs and implements many wildlife mitigation features in our known high-collision areas, there are things motorists can do to further reduce these incidents,” CDOT Region 5* Traffic & Safety Engineer Mike McVaugh said. “Avoiding collisions with wildlife is not always possible, but we can all increase our reaction time by slowing down, especially at night, and being aware of animals near the roadsides.”

*CDOT Region 5 encompasses 15 counties in southwest Colorado, including La Plata County.

NOTE FOR ONLINE CHART INTERPRETATION:  On CDOT’s Wildlife on the Move media page, there is a chart entitled “Reported Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions by Type & County;” the acronyms mean the following:  PDO = property damage only; INJ = injury accident; FAT = fatal accident. Please note, the numbers indicate the number of accidents involving a PDO, injury/ies or fatality/ies. So a FAT of “3” or INJ of “3” for example does not indicate that 3 people died or were injured that year, but rather there were three wildlife-vehicle collisions where a human fatality or injury (or several fatalities or injuries) occurred.

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